L’Escalade, or Fête de l’Escalade

L’Escalade, or Fête de l’Escalade (from escalade, the act of scaling defensive walls), is an annual festival in Geneva, Switzerland, held each December in celebration of the defeat of an attempt to conquer the Protestant city by the Catholic Duchy of Savoy. Troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, attempted a surprise attack during the night of 11–12 December 1602, but according to legend, were repulsed by a cook who dumped boiling vegetable soup on the invaders before raising an alarm. The celebrations and other commemorative activities are usually held on 12 December or the closest weekend.

L’Escalade is what Genevans call the failed surprise attack of 12 December 1602 by troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, to take Geneva. This imaginative image was drawn by Matthias Quad, or the workshop of Franz Hogenberg, around 1603. Invaders are pictured crossing the moat in the center left while reinforcements are entering Plainpalais at the bottom. A column of defenders is in the center, headed toward the Savoyards. Lake Léman is at center top.

Official language spoken in Switzerland

The four national languages of Switzerland are GermanFrenchItalian and Romansh. All but Romansh maintain equal status as official languages at the national level within the Federal Administration of the Swiss Confederation.


Swiss German is spoken in the northern, eastern, and central parts of the country, and is spoken by 63 % of the population, making it the primary language in Switzerland. Its speakers refer to it as Dialekt, Mundart, or just Dütsch.

However, if you decide to study in one of the Swiss German-speaking cantons, you should know that this language also has a range of different dialects. Therefore, it can be rather tricky to understand if you are used to speaking standard German.

But don’t let this discourage you! Standard German is still used for formal correspondence, in books, and in the newspaper, which makes things a bit easier.

Swiss German, on the other hand, is a collection of Alemannic dialects no longer spoken in Germany or Austria, peppered with a whole lot of French expressions. The Swiss Germans take pride in the diversity of their dialects.

You’ll find the same words being used differently in Zurich, Bern, or Basel. Again, no need to worry, when in doubt, politely ask for clarification! 


Swiss French is the second most popular language in Switzerland. It is spoken mostly in western Switzerland, covering the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel, and Jura. Despite the name, there is very little difference between the French spoken in Switzerland and that spoken in France. 

Some do claim that Swiss French sounds slower, due to its longer vowels. This is good news for speakers of standard French as they won’t encounter any difficulties chit-chatting with locals from the French-speaking areas. Another advantage for French speakers is that the popular travel destinations, such as Lausanne and Geneva, are entirely French-speaking. 


Swiss Italian is the language spoken in the canton of Ticino and the southern part of Graubünden (Canton Grigioni). This part of Switzerland boasts a unique blend of Swiss and Italian culture, which is just one of the reasons to visit and study here.

Known historically as Lombard, Swiss Italian is spoken by about 350,000 people. It is also influenced by German and French, so some differences might be confusing if you studied or speak standard Italian. Don’t worry, though; you might still manage to communicate pretty well.


The final piece in this Swiss linguistic treat is Romansh. With only 37,000 speakers, it is the language with the fewest speakers in Switzerland. But that doesn’t mean its history is any less rich!

Like Italian and French, Romansh is a Romance language. In 15 B.C., when the Romans conquered the province of Rhaetia, their language was influenced by that spoken by the native people. This unusual combination created Rumantsch.

Although not very famous outside of Switzerland, Romansh is used in governance, education, and is spoken freely as a community language. While there are different dialects of Romansh, a linguistic consensus was used to create the language used today.

What’s even more impressive about this language is the fact that it survived into the 21st century. Now, that would make for a compelling linguistic study!

Swiss Chocolate

Swiss chocolate is chocolate produced in Switzerland. … Switzerland is particularly renowned for its milk chocolate. In 1875, a Swiss confectioner, Daniel Peter, developed the first solid milk chocolate using condensed milk, which had been invented by Henri Nestlé, who was Peter’s neighbour in Vevey.

The cows produce a more dense less aerated milk due to the fact they are at altitude and the milk they produce is officially known as Alpine milk. These two main ingredients are a big part of the reason why Swiss chocolate is so famous. The Swiss became famous for chocolate in the year 1819 when François-Louis Cailler (1796-1852) invented the mechanized production of pressed chocolate. He opens a chocolate factory in Vevey to produce Switzerland’s first mass-produced chocolate confection. Chocolate becomes more affordable and is sold as a packaged product.

Switzerland is known as the home of cheese, banking, and chocolateSwiss chocolates are world-famous, as the names Lindt, Toblerone, Läderach, Cailler, and even Nestlé feature in shops across the globe.

Swiss chocolate is famous around the world, but what are the secret ingredients and mysterious processes that make it so well-known and loved?From around 1819 until the present day, Swiss chocolate making has been recognised as a world standard which other countries can only dream of attaining. It all began in 1819, when François Louis Callier, opened the first chocolate factory in Switzerland. By 1857 Swiss farmers and developers had managed to promote the growth of cocoa trees in Ghana, Africa which is under their colonial control. Ghana still remains one of the foremost cocoa bean producers in the world.

And by 1875, after eight years of continuous research and experimentation, Daniel Peter, a Swiss citizen had created the first chocolate that contained a high proportion of milk, using one of Switzerland’s most easily available ingredients – the rich creamy milk produced by Swiss pastureland.